Why Should You Sell Your Photos For Stock Photography

I am about to embark on a 2 month road trip across Australia. During this time I will not be working, however I will still be earning a steady income from my photography. This is because I sell my work on the Stock Photography Site, Shutter Stock. You can check out my portfolio Here.  

In this blog I will talk about why you should consider selling your work on these sitesI sell my work on the Stock Photography Site, Shutter Stock.. In my next blogs I will explain how to choose which site is best for you and how to get started on them. 


How do Stock Photography Sites Work

So you may be asking “what is stock photography?” Put in simple terms it is like having an agent who sells your work for you. You keep the copyright of your images and provide the stock company with permission to advertise your images to their customers. These customers can then buy specific rights to your image. 

Unfortunately the payouts for each sale are quite small, They usually range between $0.20 and $100 although they are often closer to the lower end of the scale. This means that to make it worth while you need to make a lot of sales.

The best way to do this is to upload a lot of images to the site. This can be time consuming because every image needs to be the correct size, have a selection of keywords, a title and a category. Once you have done that you have to wait for your image to be accepted. Images can be rejected for a number of reasons including technical problems such as focus or exposure. Also image where you can see a persons face, certain buildings or trademarks you will need to provide a release.

Screen Shot shutterstock

How do I Make it Work

This does sound like a hassle but once you get a system in place it is actually very easy. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit and organise my images. As part of organising I add keywords to my images which are included in the metadata when the file is exported. I have a preset for exporting my files for Shutterstock so they are always the correct size. From experience I have a good idea of which photos will be accepted and which will be rejected.

I spend approximately 10 minutes a day uploading images to shutter stock and earn around $3 a day. This figure is constantly going up as I add more photos to the site. The simple concept of the more options you have the more chance there is of making a sale.

90% of the photos I upload are pictures which I would have been taking anyway and have already made some money from. This is just a little extra profit and I don’t believe anyone can make this their full time income.

Screen Shot Shutterstock


Should you contribute to a Stock Photography Site?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you should:

  • Is there thousands of un-used photos sitting on your hard drive?
  • Do you take lots of pictures of landscapes, wildlife, unbranded objects, food or abstracts? 
  • Can you spare 10 minutes a day?
  • Do you need a small supplement to your current salary?


Did you answer yes but are still a little unsure? Thats ok let me just highlight the pros and cons for you. 


  • You do not know who buys you images or how they are being used
  • It can be a little time consuming to upload images
  • Some of your images will be rejected
  • The income is small
  • It can take a few months before you start to make money
  • You need to be contributing regularly


  • Easy way to make a little extra cash
  • You don’t need to find the customers
  • It will encourage you to try out different types of photography
  • You keep the copyright of the images
  • Can make more money from photos you are already taking
  • Even when you are not working you will still have a small income to fall back on


Ready to Start Now?

If you are ready to sign up to Shutterstock you can do so here

Want a little more information, no problem wait for my next blog where I will explain how to choose the right site for you. 


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